Ni**as in Paris

Niggas in Paris by krin.jpg

Date Aired
February 27th, 2012
Running Time
Previous review
Next review

Todd plays "Ni**as in Paris" on his piano.

A pop song review

Todd: Ladies and gentlemen, today we have a song about a topic we can all relate to—being stupefyingly rich!

Clip of Jay-Z and Kanye West - "Otis"
Jay-Z: New watch alert, Hublot's...

Todd (VO): Specifically, we're talking about two of the biggest names in music—Jay-Z and Kanye West. Now Jay and Kanye have long held a weird mutual respect for each other. Kanye got his start as a hot young producer who helped make some of Jay-Z's biggest hits, and the two of them have collaborated several times since then, which you wouldn't think to be the case.

Todd: Now look at Jay-Z.

Various clips of Jay-Z's videos, including "Empire State of Mind" (ft Alicia Keys)

Todd (VO): Jay-Z is still one of the hottest-selling, most popular rappers around, sixteen years into his career. Who is still good after that long? [Clips of Rolling Stones - "Emotional Rescue"] Sixteen years into the Rolling Stones' career, they were making shitty disco music; and [Elvis Presley's Aloha from Hawaii] after sixteen years, Elvis was a bloated drug addict. But Jay-Z? ["Empire State of Mind"] Bigger than ever. Young Hov has called himself the new Sinatra.

Jay-Z: I'm the new Sinatra

Todd (VO): You know what? I see that. He's got that [clip of Frank Sinatra singing "New York, New York"] mix of swagger and respectability and "don't fuck with me" attitude that you tend to associate with 'Ol Blue Eyes. Jay-Z has also called himself the [images of...] black Axl Rose and rap's Grateful Dead, but...

Todd: ...I haven't quite wrapped my head around those yet.

Video for "H.A.M."

Todd (VO): Now considering all that, it's weird how well he gets along with Kanye West because the two are a study in contrasts, particularly in the way that Jay-Z is all about careful control of his own image, whereas Kanye has always been about spewing forth every stupid thought and bad idea he's ever had the very second that he has them.

Clip of "Stronger"
Kanye: Heard they'd do anything for a Klondike
Well I'd do anything for a blonde dyke

Todd: Now look, I love Kanye. He's never released a bad album, I think the man is a genius. But seriously, he's a moron.

Todd (VO): And Jay-Z is not a man who suffers fools gladly. He has a long history of not dealing well with stupid, like his [clip from 2009 MTV VMAs] visible disdain for a lower-level rapper who jumped onstage with him during his VMA performance, [clip performing with R. Kelly] or that time he had R. Kelly pepper-sprayed and banned from the rest of their co-headlining tour—that was pretty funny—[clip from 2011 VMAs] or when he flat-out refused to clap for convicted girl-beater Chris Brown, and of course, the rumors that he was sabotaging Brown's career behind-the-scenes for a solid year after the assault. [Picture of Brown with a Grammy] If that was true, I wish he was still doing it.

Todd: So you'd think two of the most notorious egos in rap music would clash, but they team up like [image of...] Superman and Batman, by which I mean surprisingly well.

Video for "Young Forever" (ft. Mr. Hudson)
Jay-Z: Livin' like a video...

Todd (VO): Jay-Z has the air of a living legend, but he's also getting up there in years, and he keeps his image so tightly controlled that his rapping can turn out a little soulless and uninvolving.

Jay-Z: Slammin Bentley doors, hoppin out of Porsches
Poppin up on Forbes list, gorgeous...
Clip of Kanye West - "Heartless"

Todd (VO): Kanye, meanwhile, tends to stay locked up in his own head on his own albums. But together, their partnership [clip of "Otis"] lends Jay-Z creative energy while giving Kanye some badly needed dignity. And their work together culminated last year in a full collaboration album [cover of...] Watch the Throne. Now that album got decent reviews...

Todd: ...and it also gave them both one of their biggest-ever hits, "Ni..." [can't say it...] "Ni..." Guys, display that for me. (NI**AS IN PARIS) Alright, thank you. I don't know if they expected that song to be as popular as it turned out, as they didn't really shoot a real video for it, although [clip of the video] they did cobble together a pretty impressive one out of concert footage. And we're all gonna take a look, although before we start, I should warn you that a number of you actually can't look because the video that they released for this song, you guessed it, [image of epilepsy warning] causes seizures. I am not kidding. That's two Kanye West videos that I've had to review now that had a seizure warning on it. Epileptics of the world, what did you do to Kanye that he hates you so much? So again, if you are prone to seizures, you are gonna have to sit this video out, which is a shame because I wrote some good jokes for this one, if I don't say so myself. The video starts now, so if you don't like foaming at the mouth, turn away 'cause here we go.

Jay-Z: Let's go! [Todd waves his hands in front of him]
So I ball so hard motherfuckers wanna fine me
Kanye: Eh.
Jay-Z: But first niggas gotta find me

Todd: And who's harder to find than Jay-Z?

Clips of Jay-Z at basketball games and photo shoots

Todd (VO): Yes, sightings of this elusive and camera-shy mythical being are so rare that many refuse to believe that he even exists.

Jay-Z: So I ball so hard motherfuckers wanna fine me
Kanye: Eh.

Todd (VO): Also, Kanye, what the hell are you doing? You're not helping.

Jay-Z: But first niggas gotta find me
Kanye: Eh. (Haaaaaaa!??)

Todd (VO): Did they have to make this song a live version? Bad enough the video was gonna make a portion of the audience choke on their own tongue. You gotta make the music worse too?

Todd: Sorry. Go on.

Jay-Z: Psycho, I’m liable to go Michael
Take your pick, Jackson, Tyson, Jordan
Crowd: Game 6!

Todd: Oh, I get to pick which Michael you're emulating?

Jay-Z: Take your pick, Jackson, Tyson, Jordan

Todd: Well, if it's my pick, [picture of the Michaels] I guess I'll go with the one who wasn't accused of rape. That leaves me with the one who starred in Space Jam, but you know, I can...I can live with that.

Todd (VO): Actually, I thought that line was pretty cool. I think this is going pretty well, actually. Now, Jay-Z's biggest problem is that he's so wrapped up in his own ego that he's hard to connect with.

Jay-Z: Ball so hard, got a broke clock, Roleys that don’t tick tock
Audemars that’s losing time, hidden behind all these big rocks

Todd: He's bragging about his watch. I...I don't care about his watch. No one I know even owns a watch, we have cell phones.

Todd (VO): But when he's on, he's on. And his untouchableness works in his favor.

Jay-Z: This shit crazy
Y’all don’t know that don’t shit phase me
The Nets could go 0-82 and I look at you like this shit gravy

Todd: Now, if I publicly invested a [article about Jay-Z buying the New Jersey Nets] giant chunk of my own money into a losing basketball team, I wouldn't let that shit out. Jay-Z doesn't care. He's like, [images of...] "I started Google Plus, I bought Euro Disneyland. Don't care, bitches!"

Jay-Z: Ball so hard, bitch behave, just might let you meet Ye

Todd (VO): Taking someone to meet Kanye is more of a threat than a gift, Jay. We'll get to that in a second.

Todd: But wait 'til you hear the chorus for this.

Jay-Z: Ball so hard motherfuckers wanna fine me
Kanye: That shit cray
That shit cray

Todd (VO): Actually, you'll have to wait a while because there isn't one. The most you get is Jay-Z yelling, "ball so hard," and Kanye shouting, "that shit cray." But at the very least, not [clip of The Black Eyed Peas - "Imma Be"] over and over and over again like the super-obnoxious rap hooks you get nowadays, just now and then.

Todd: Yes, the two of them are confident that their personalities alone can carry a song, even without a chorus. Next I think they'll try it without music or words.

Todd (VO): But anyway, I did really like Jay-Z's verse—smooth and confident and smart enough to justify what could just be another shallow, materialistic luxury rap.

Jay-Z: If you escaped what I’ve escaped
You’d be in Paris getting fucked up too

Todd: But here's where it starts to lose me, because then Kanye gets on the mic and starts braying like a goddamn donkey.

Kanye: She said 'Ye can we get married at the mall? (MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL)
I said look (Look) you need to crawl ‘fore you ball (BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL)
Come and meet me (Come and meet) in the bathroom stall (STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL)
And show me why you deserve to have it all (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL)
Jay-Z: Let's go!

Todd: Yes, little known fact—Kanye's main influence has always been Humpty Hump.

Clip of Digital Underground - "The Humpty Dance"
Humpty Hump: I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom
Kanye: Come and meet me in the bathroom stall
And show me why you deserve to have it all
Jay-Z: Let's go!

Todd (VO): I'm not sure why being willing to get freaky in a toilet would make a girl marriage material.

Todd: But you know what they say, I guess—guys want a lady in the streets, but a freak in the...public restroom. You guys ever see Coming to America?

Clip from Coming to America
Akeem Joffer: I want a woman that's going to arouse my intellect as well as my loins.

Todd (VO): I get the well that if that movie had starred Kanye, it wouldn't have gotten past Act One. But I'm nitpicking here. Substancewise, what is he saying? What inspired this? Of course, [poster of 1970 jazz festival in Paris] Paris has a rich history of welcoming black Americans, [poster of notable black Americans against Eiffel Tower] musicians and entertainers in particular. And in a way, [cover of Tyler Stovall's Paris Noir] that is what Kanye found so inspiring about the City of Lights. Now in his own words: "I am where art meets commercial. The sweet spot between the hood and Hollywood. Having a conversation with Karl Lagerfeld and Jay-Z within the same hour. When we’re in Paris dressing all crazy at fashion shows, we listening to Jeezy. Jeezy in Paris, that’s what it is."

Todd: So, he's interested in the fact that him being from the hip-hop world and having access to Paris, the cultural center of high fashion. Kanye name-drops so many designers here that I start to feel like a bit of a chump.

Kanye: Was Gucci my nigga?
Was Louie my killa?
Was drugs my deala?
Was that jacket Margiela?

Todd: Now keep in mind I'm a guy who walks around every day in a ratty gray hoodie I purchased at a Wal-Mart in 2005 as part of a [picture of...] Donnie Darko Halloween costume. I have no idea what the hell he's talking about.

Kanye: Was that jacket Margiela?

Todd: If whatever kind of clothing that is shows up at Goodwill, Kanye, I'll be sure to check it out.

Todd (VO): And yes, Kanye has always had a taste for the finer things in life. He even mocks his date for being so dumb, she tries to order a McFish sandwich at the fancy restaurant he takes her to.

Kanye: What she order, fish filet

Todd: [wearing hat and holding cup and saucer, with snobbish voice] And then the uncultured harlot became so bewildered that she attempted to consume her vichyssoise with a dessert spoon.

Todd (VO): Yeah, that whole thing would be a lot less annoying to me if Kanye weren't a living demonstration of why having taste isn't the same thing as having class.

Kanye: Come and meet me in the bathroom stall

Todd: Then again, a man who covers his teeth in [picture of Kanye with...] diamonds is probably not someone whose fashion sense I should spend much time being jealous of anyway.

Kanye: Bougie girl, grab her hand
Fuck that bitch she don’t wanna dance
Excuse my French but I’m in France

Todd (VO): Kanye, you're not making hip-hop classier, you're making Paris worse.

Todd: Okay, look. I'm not saying Kanye shouldn't ever brag about his accomplishments, but his corniness, his admittedly weak flow, and most of all, his complete openness about his own failures as a human being makes him such an easy target when he does.

Kanye: Prince William’s ain’t do it right if you ask me
Cause I was him I would have married Kate & Ashley

Todd: Yes, Kanye West, the man who dedicated two whole albums to his failed relationships...

Clip from Runaway
Kanye: I sent this bitch a picture of my dick

Todd: lecturing a member of Europe's most [picture of newlyweds Prince William and Princess Kate] beloved young couple about his choice in women...with a terrible pun...and a [cover of The New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley] dated reference. Yeah, I don't think the crown prince of England will find that advice terribly useful.

Todd (VO): But for me, the whole song is a buildup to this one line. You gotta hear this, it's amazing.

Kanye: Doctors say we the illest
Cause we suffer from realness
Got my niggas in Paris
And we just went gorillas, huh!

Todd: What?

Kanye: And we just went gorillas, huh!
[Cuts to clip from Blades of Glory]
Jimmy: I don't even know what that means.
Chazz: No one knows what it means, but it's provocative.
Jimmy: No, it's not.
Chazz: It gets the people going.

Todd: You know what's incredible about that? I didn't do it. That wasn't me. Kanye put that Will Ferrell clip in there himself.

Todd (VO): And that's awesome 'cause that's exactly the same clip I would've used to describe that "goin' gorillas" line. God bless you, Kanye. Maybe if I listen to you long enough, you'll start...

Todd: ...spicing up your music with a little...

Clips from Street Fighter...
Bison: Of course!

Todd: ...or maybe some...

...and Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Patsy: It's only a model.

Todd (VO): And also, could we talk about Kanye's awful taste in movies? [Clip from...] Blades of Glory? The Will Ferrell movie that taught the world to stop watching Will Ferrell movies? It's funny cause two guys are touching each other. [Fake laugh]

Todd: And judging by the other punchlines Kanye's stolen, this is probably not an anomaly.

Clip from "Jesus Walks"
Kanye: Saying "we eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast"
Huh? Yall eat pieces of shit?
...followed by clip from...
Happy Gilmore: You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?
Shooter: No!
Clip from "All Falls Down"...
Kanye: I can't even pronounce nothing, pass that versace (pronounced "vers-ace")
...followed by clip from Showgirls
Nomi: Thanks, I bought it at Versace.

Todd: You know, Kanye, there is a reason why most rappers reference things like Scarface or Goodfellas and not... [poster of...] The Love Guru.

Clip from same...
Guru Maurice Pitka: Looks like he smuggling a schnauzer.

Todd (VO): Yeah, work that into a song sometime, Kanye.

Todd: But that's hardly the point, because you know what? That portly figure skater is right.

Chazz: It gets the people going.

Todd (VO): It does get the people going! I don't have to know what "goin' gorillas" means! It sounds awesome! And that clip probably makes the point better than Kanye ever could on his own. Quite frankly, that moment, just on its own, justifies the entire song to me. Even with all the ridiculousness and stupid jokes, I think this song is actually pretty awesome.

Todd: Yeah, that's right. I actually like "N..." [still can't say it, points down to display] (NIGGAS IN P***S) [Facepalms] What the hell do I pay you people for? I'm saying I actually like "N-words in Paris".

Todd (VO): In fact, in the whole two-and-a-half years I've been doing this, I think this might be the first pop song review I've ever done, except for the Top Tens, where I would call what I've reviewing a...

Todd: ..."good song." That shit cray. Take us out, Kanye!

Kanye: You are now watching the throne
Don’t let me get in my zone
Don’t let me get in my zone
Don’t let me get in my zone

Todd: Don't let Kanye in his zone. You wouldn't like him when he's in his zone.

Kanye: Don’t let me get in my zone
Don’t let me get in my zone
Jay-Z and Kanye: I’m definitely in my zone

Todd: NOOOOOO!!!! You let him in his zone! Why did you do that?!

Kanye: Don’t let me get in my zone
These other niggas is lyin’
Actin’ like the summer ain’t mine
Infamous clips from NBC's 2005 Hurricane Katrina telethon...
Kanye: George Bush doesn't care about black people.
Kanye: Don’t let me get in my zone
Jay-Z and Kanye: I’m definitely in my zone
...the 2009 VMAs...
Kanye: But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!
...and The Insider
Kanye: Play it hard, man! I got the f****** #1 re--
The VMAs clip and "Ni**as in Paris" end

Todd: Turn your back for one damn minute and Kanye's in his zone. [Gets up and leaves] Who let these things happen?

Closing Tag Song: "Frère Jacques"

"Ni**as in Paris" is owned by Roc-A-Fella Records
This video is owned by me

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.